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On this day in history: July 25, 1917 - Margaretha Geertruida Zelle, also known as Mata Hari, is found guilty of spying and is sentenced to death.
Born on this day in history: July 25, 1848 - A. J. Balfour (1848 - 1930) statesman. He was Prime Minister, 1902-05; wrote "Balfour Declaration," 1917, approving the establishment of Jewish state in Palestine.
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Sixty years ago, Clearwater, FL, was invaded by a footprint-leaving sea monster, which would haunt the dreams of beach-goers for decades to come. The sandy tracks left by what would come to be known as the Clearwater Monster were like nothing the sleepy surfside community had ever seen — big bird-like footprints, about 14 inches long and 11 inches wide. But Tony Signorini wasn’t a monster. He was just a dude with some big shoes stomping around on the beach with his buddy for fun.
"Back in, I want to say 1946, though it could have been '47, Al (Williams, Signorini’s boss at the time) gets his hands on a National Geographic. There was a picture of dinosaur tracks. Al said, 'You know, we could have fun with this,'" Signorini said. So the pair made a pair of giant boots and headed out to the beach to make some tracks.
"We made (the boots) in the shop. They were plaster at first, but you couldn't make a good track with plaster. It just didn't sink in the sand deep enough to look authentic. We went to this blacksmith shop and poured lead in our molds. Each track weighed 30 pounds. We bolted black high-top gym shoes to each track," Signorini said.
Tales of the scary sand discovery were the talk of the town, making news in the papers and the radio. Believers would vouch for having seen something spooky emerge from the surf in the moonlight, knocking over lifeguard towers. "We were surprised to read in the papers that people had seen the monster, because nobody was on the beach that night. We got a kick out of that," Signorini said.